If you’re like a lot of people who are starting a business, you’re probably doing so from home to save money on office space rent. However, you’ll probably struggle with all the tech required to run a business if you don’t have an IT background. Read on for some tips you can follow to get your home office set up and operating in the most tech-savvy — as well as time- and cost-effective — way, today.
Utilize IT consultants
For starters, don’t be afraid to get help. While there will be many things you can organize yourself, there’s no point wasting hour upon hour and getting stressed trying to work out how to set things up or what to buy when you can simply ask someone who knows.
There are plenty of consultants out there who can make quick work of your home office set up. Look for people with online undergraduate degrees in office technology or computing or similar, who understand the tech world in detail. They can help you choose a computer, printer and other equipment that will fill your needs, and they can set it up quickly and configure it as required.
As well, while many entrepreneurs call the manufacturer or telecommunications provider when something goes wrong with their systems, there is a better way. Consult IT professionals to save yourself time and money in the long run. Consider setting up an annual plan, or else hire someone when needed.
Start small and grow
When you’re working from home, you might be tempted to buy as many tech tools as possible to feel legitimate, particularly if you’re used to working in a large office. But these days, there is no need for this. Much can be done with a single computer, multifunction printer/scanner/photocopier, good modem and the use of software like cloud-based storage and other programs.
The whole point of working from home is probably to save money on rent, so don’t go out and blow cash on superfluous office items. Before you spend money, ask yourself a few questions. For example, what hardware is necessary, and at what point do extra features or items become just bells and whistles?
Note that you don’t need a stand-alone device for everything. If you utilize multifunction products or take an adventure of software-as-a-service, you can free up space in your home office. Since you likely only have the one area to set up as your own, multifunction tools will be a big help as you collect more “stuff,” such as paperwork and supplies, related to your business.
Get yourself business accounts and offers
Even though you might be working from home, you’re still running a venture. As such, don’t forget to ask for business accounts from service providers. For example, when contacting telecommunications firms to set up phone and internet services, give them your business details and ask for what kind of offers they provide for organizations, as opposed to individual usage. This will not only give you preferred rates but also access to additional inclusions, not to mention priority service during outages or when other issues arise.
Keep your home office separate
Another tip is to ensure your home office is kept separate from the rest of your premises. Always have a separate computer that only you use for your work. Don’t let your children have unfettered access to your devices, paperwork and the like. They might accidentally delete information or programs, cause security risks or mark important papers.
You must instead be professional and teach your family that your home office is a separate space that’s important for your work. After all, who wants to have to tell a client that they can’t make a deadline because their child erased their document or their dog ate their homework?
Keep things running smoothly
Lastly, to keep things running smoothly, always be mindful of security. Install quality security software and firewalls on your devices to stop hackers from breaking in, and don’t click on suspicious links or open emails and attachments from people you don’t know.
Back up your information daily to the cloud, so if you do get hacked or if you otherwise lose information, it will still be stored off-site. This also covers you if you happen to have a fire, flood, break-in or other disasters at your home. Regularly update the software you use, so you’re always running the latest versions of programs. This covers security software, browsers, operating systems, apps, plug-ins and more.